Stéphane Gagné
Senior Manager | CPA, CA, D. Fisc. | Tax

Do you have a fishing permit or carry out a fishing business? You should know about the related tax and legal considerations.

Governments have implemented several tax provisions to benefit, among other things, two specific sectors of our economy: fishing and agriculture. This article covers key considerations to help fishing business owners maximize their tax situation.

Succession

Unlike other businesses, specific tax provisions allow the owners of a fishing (or farm) business to transfer the business to family successors with no tax impact, either during their lifetime or at the time of death.

It is also possible to transfer the shares of a fishing business to family successors with no tax impact.

Capital gains

Only the assets used in operating the fishing (or farm) business qualify for a capital gain deduction on their sale.

The capital gain deduction on the disposal of a corporation’s qualifying shares is higher for a business that carries on a fishing (or farm) business than for any other type of business.

Instalments

Individuals whose main source of income is from carrying on a fishing (or farm) business are not required to make tax instalments as often or for the same amount as individuals who carry on another type of business.

Asset acquisition: investment tax credit

Some assets acquired to be used in carrying on a fishing business qualify for an investment tax credit, that is, a tax subsidy that reduced their acquisition cost.

The tax authorities make it easier to claim a capital cost allowance in the year of acquisition of assets used in a fishing (or farm) business.

Advantageous tax rates

In Quebec, the tax rate on income earned by a corporation carrying on a fishing business is generally lower than for other corporations.

Employment insurance

There is a specific employment insurance plan for fishers and they are the only self-employed workers who can receive these benefits.

Incorporation

A fishing business can be incorporated and there are some tax benefits associated with this option, the main one being a lower tax rate.

Note that a number of Fisheries and Oceans Canada policies limit or prevent the implementation of some tax reorganizations.

Do you have questions about the taxes applicable to fishing businesses? Our team of tax experts has the answers and can provide tax compliance and reorganization services.

Don’t hesitate to call on them; they have in-depth knowledge of the specific, complex tax provisions related to the fishing industry, thanks to their geographical positioning. We are close to our clients and we know their situation.

Come meet us to talk about your tax concerns and tell us a few fish stories!

20 Sep 2019  |  Written by :

Stéphane Gagné is a tax expert at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact him today!

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published Insights into IFRS 16 – Presentation and disclosure.

This bulletin identifies the presentation and disclosure requirements and provides examples of note disclosures.

IFRS 16 requires lessees and lessors to provide information about leasing activities within their financial statements. The Standard explains how this information should be presented on the face of the statements and what disclosures are required.

When it comes to the notes, the Standard tends to focus on the details of the information to be provided, leaving it to preparers to decide on the most meaningful way to present it.

This bulletin identifies the requirements and provides a series of examples illustrating one possible way the note disclosures might be presented.

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The business transfer process can often pose some major intergenerational challenges that can compromise its success.

Generally, transferors and transferees are not from the same generation and have different values and ways of doing things. Being aware of these differences and setting up communication and governance mechanisms can help bridge the intergenerational gap.

This is a key issue, studies have shown that there is a wide gap between people born before 1965 (traditionalists and baby-boomers, who are on the verge of disposing of their business) and those born after (generation X and Y).

Different values

Traditionalists and baby-boomers tend to have a Cartesian management style and consider work as a principal value. Gen Xers and Gen Yers have a more human management style and attach more importance to the work-personal life balance.

For them, work is but one of many components, it’s a source of knowledge. The value of work is not measured in how many hours they put in, as is the case of the previous generation, but as a function of their contribution to the business.

Additionally, authority doesn’t impress Gen Xers and Gen Yers as it did their parents. They’ve been used team work from a young age and prefer group management and decision-making. It’s been noted that, on average, three transferees take over from a single transferor.

The previous generations, on the other hand, tend to work in isolation, more likely to call on external professionals for advice.

The gap is so wide that, for the first time in Québec, the generational influence is stronger than the heredity influence, that is, that Gen Xers and Gen Yers are more influenced by their own generation’s values and behaviours than those of their parents.

This, understandably, leads to a certain degree of disappointment with entrepreneur parents who’d like their children to be more like they are. It can also lead to considerable misunderstanding on both sides and create tension.

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A three-step approach

Preparing a succession plan is a key step to anticipate ways of smoothing the generational differences and ensuring that transferors and transferees have a common vision.

A succession plan, which should cover a span of at least five years to completion, helps prepare the transfer and covers various transfer issues: financial, tax, legal, strategic and generational, among others.

Our experts work in intervention groups composed of a wide range of specialists who can analyze these issues and recommend solutions as part of an integrated approach.

We propose a three-step approach for the generational issues:

  1. Make the transferor, transferee(s) and employees aware of generational differences during more focussed presentations and meetings.
  2. Pinpoint the risks of intergenerational differences and the more sensitive areas to focus on, in terms of management, finance, human resources, business development and company activities.
  3. Determine the required actions to bridge the generational gaps.

For example, consider a baby-boomer transferor who’s always decided everything on his own and doesn’t discuss things with those around him. We’ll help him set up communication and governance practices (by creating a management committee and a board of directors, among others) that are better suited to the values and ways of doing things of the Gen Xers and Gen Yers who’ll be taking over.

We’ll also outline everyone’s responsibilities so that the transferor, transferees and key employees can each have their say and play a role in line with their skills. If necessary, we’ll set up development plans to better equip the transferees, which helps to reassure the transferor.

Here’s an important hint: as a business owner in the process of a transfer, focus on “how’s it going?” rather than “how much is it worth?”, in other words, on personal well-being and engagement rather than the financial considerations.

Reassuring the transferor

Right from the start, our team ensures that it talks with the transferor to pinpoint the main concerns regarding the transfer process and proposes a number of solutions in the transfer plan. Generally, the best way to reassure the transferor is to use an approach where responsibilities and ownership are gradually transferred.

These are the five areas where transferors generally show the greatest resistance:

  1. Entrepreneurial mourning, the feeling of losing everything and getting old. With a progressive transfer, the owner will continue to feel useful and the transition to retirement will be easier.
  2. Their uncertainty about the successors’ abilities. One solution is to evaluate the successors’ abilities and prepare a development plan to offset any entrepreneurial weaknesses.
  3. Their uncertainty about the project’s financial feasibility. Will the successors be able to ensure the business’s profitability and assume new debt to pay the transferor?
  4. Concerns about the successors’ borrowing capacity. Will they be able to get the necessary financing for the transaction?
  5. Tax considerations regarding the ownership transfer. Will the transferor be entitled to the capital gain exemption?

If you’re planning to transfer your business, our experts can help.

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Pierre Bourgeois
Partner | CPA, CA | Tax

How the push for digital tax consensus could upend transfer pricing as we know it.

After a slow and tentative start, the OECD’s push for a solution on how to allocate and tax the profits from digital business is gathering momentum.

Following consultations, initial proposals from earlier in the year have now been crystallised into a twin-pillar framework and series of detailed options within it (referred to in this article as the ‘OECD programme of work’).

The G20 has endorsed The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’S) roadmap for resolving the ‘tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy’ (BEPS Action Plan One) and is committed to working toward a consensus-based long-term solution by the end of 2020.

While global consensus is clearly preferable to today’s fragmented approach to taxing digitally-derived revenue, the OECD’s search for a solution could end up heightening the risk of double taxation for all businesses rather than just Big Tech giants.

And under the reallocation of profits and minimum tax proposals that have emerged following a recent round of consultations, the arm’s length principle that has governed transfer pricing for decades could become obsolete, with all the upheaval that would result.

So, what does the OECD have in mind and what are the implications? Will the proposals survive the political realities of sovereign state control over tax policy, and the entrenched national interests that go with it?

For more information, download the document.

21 Aug 2019  |  Written by :

Mr. Bourgeois is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in taxation for the...

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